Activision Blizzard agrees to pay $18 million to settle EEOC probe

sleepeeg3

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Activision, the largest U.S. videogame publisher by market capitalization, also is being sued by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. The department, among other allegations, said in July that the company paid women less than their male counterparts, provided women with fewer opportunities to advance, and maintained a "frat boy" culture, primarily at its Blizzard Entertainment unit.
That's 18 million dollars? Let's see... a company made up primarily of highly paid software developers, which has traditionally been dominated by men (my computer science female friend would attest to that), gets paid more than women, pays men more... I wonder why? ...and what exactly is a "frat boy" culture and how does that represent sexual harassment?

Activision said this month it hired two senior executives to help it build a more inclusive workplace and grow its revenue. Julie Hodges, a Walt Disney Co. executive, was named chief people officer and Sandeep Dube, a Delta Air Lines Inc. executive, was named chief commercial officer. Hodges, who had oversight of compensation, benefits and talent acquisition at Disney, is filling the role of human resources chief being vacated by Claudine Naughton.
Mouse house (Disney) employee going to chew some holes in their walls and continue #METOOing Activision games. It makes the sexual censorship of Diablo II Resurrected make a whole lot more sense. Disney did such a great job ruining the Star Wars franchise with their PC garbage.

Look, I don't know what the employees did or did not do. The article does not give any specifics resembling anything resembling sexual harrassment, but there has been an effort to divide the United States across many lines, including gender. Some of what once may have been considered flirting and the continuation of the human race has now been criminalized. Activision would do themselves a favor by getting the hell out of California.
 
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Lakados

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and what exactly is a "frat boy" culture and how does that represent sexual harassment?
In the complaint it’s pretty clear, their cube crawls for one where male employees would get drunk mid day and start doing shit like dragging their nuts on the female employees desks. Hiding cameras in the women’s bathrooms and trading the photos like Pokémon cards. It was a pretty long list.
 

Lakados

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Monday afternoon, Activision Blizzard settled with the EEOC, noting in a statement that it has “committed to create an $18 million fund to compensate and make amends to” the suit’s claimants.”

So that $18M is in addition to the settlement with the EEOC, this probably cost them a lot more than that.
 

auntjemima

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Monday afternoon, Activision Blizzard settled with the EEOC, noting in a statement that it has “committed to create an $18 million fund to compensate and make amends to” the suit’s claimants.”

So that $18M is in addition to the settlement with the EEOC, this probably cost them a lot more than that.
When they released WoW, they basically turned on a money printing machine. 18m is NOTHING.
 

auntjemima

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So they are basically paying for it to all go away? Is this how justice works there?
With big companies, it is. The victims want monetary restitution. Settling out of court makes sense as both avenues are going to only be about the financial aspect.
 

Aurelius

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That's 18 million dollars? Let's see... a company made up primarily of highly paid software developers, which has traditionally been dominated by men (my computer science female friend would attest to that), gets paid more than women, pays men more... I wonder why? ...and what exactly is a "frat boy" culture and how does that represent sexual harassment?


Mouse house (Disney) employee going to chew some holes in their walls and continue #METOOing Activision games. It makes the sexual censorship of Diablo II Resurrected make a whole lot more sense. Disney did such a great job ruining the Star Wars franchise with their PC garbage.

Look, I don't know what the employees did or did not do. The article does not give any specifics resembling anything resembling sexual harrassment, but there has been an effort to divide the United States across many lines, including gender. Some of what once may have been considered flirting and the continuation of the human race has now been criminalized. Activision would do themselves a favor by getting the hell out of California.

You can pretty much sum up this post as "I know absolutely nothing about the case and know little about sexual harassment as a whole, but I will presume to know more than the EEOC investigators, eyewitnesses and victims."

At BlizzCon, one of the main harassers (Alex Afrasiabi) had a suite that men nicknamed the "Cosby suite" — you know, after the self-admitted rapist and harasser. There are group photos in that suite around a portrait of Cosby. Numerous men at Blizzard knew what was going on; they either supported it or deliberately ignored it.

The problem isn't an attempt to 'divide' genders or criminalize flirting. It's that sexual harassment has either been encouraged, tolerated or swept under the rug, and people are just now hearing about unacceptable behavior that has gone on for years. People like you are the problem, not the women making complaints.
 

vegeta535

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It almost pays not to hire women if running a business. It's sad it's this way but that's just how it is.
Nowadays it doesn't pay to have women in a work place. Everyone has to tip toe around at all cost. Just complimenting them can be considered harassment to them. When I use to be in a HVAC union women had a easy free ride. They could get a 0% on the entrance test and still get admitted cause they were desperate to meet the female quota. They then stick them on a huge construction site and get away with literally doing nothing all day.
 

GamerKitty

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Nowadays it doesn't pay to have women in a work place. Everyone has to tip toe around at all cost. Just complimenting them can be considered harassment to them. When I use to be in a HVAC union women had a easy free ride. They could get a 0% on the entrance test and still get admitted cause they were desperate to meet the female quota. They then stick them on a huge construction site and get away with literally doing nothing all day.
I used to hold the door open for women thinking I was a gentlemen until I started getting dirty looks from them - I don't do it anymore and still get a dirty look as if I slammed the door in their face. Damned if you do and damned if you don't...lol!
 

vegeta535

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I used to hold the door open for women thinking I was a gentlemen until I started getting dirty looks from them - I don't do it anymore and still get a dirty look as if I slammed the door in their face. Damned if you do and damned if you don't...lol!
Me neither. There is only one women I am cool with at work that I know I can fuck around with. Been working with her for nearly 10 years. Hell my sister-in-law tried to get me fired for a joke a month ago. Basically I don't acknowledge any other female unless it is work related.
 
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harmattan

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The stuff that was going on there makes me retch, and it was (likely still is) an endemic problem at Blizzard from what I've read. It goes way beyond any sort of polemic on social morays or discussion on what's distasteful. The only thing that should be divisive about this settlement is that it wasn't harsh enough and didn't bring individuals to be accountable.

In addition to this, Activision Blizzard has a case filed by the NLRB (who tend to not file unless there's fire) claiming they continually threaten employees to not talk about pay or working conditions -- which is protected under law. The company needs to be held to account.
 
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Aurelius

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The stuff that was going on there makes me retch, and it was (likely still is) an endemic problem at Blizzard from what I've read. It goes way beyond any sort of polemic on social morays or discussion on what's distasteful. The only thing that should be divisive about this settlement is that it wasn't harsh enough and didn't bring individuals to be accountable.
Exactly. And given some of the sexist replies here, it's pretty clear a harsher reckoning is needed at other companies, too.
 

harmattan

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yes, see Meng Wanzhou for another example.
I think that was more of an issue of a State kidnapping two former diplomats traded for the release of one of their state-owned company's criminal execs.
 

Seelenlos

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They may settle this one but the company is under investigation by other groups as well. Sounds like the investors are pissed off because blizzard didn't disclose to them they were being investigated.
Guess that is a requirement. So they complained and the SEC is investigating. So they are not out of trouble yet.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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Look, I don't know what the employees did or did not do. The article does not give any specifics resembling anything resembling sexual harrassment, but there has been an effort to divide the United States across many lines, including gender. Some of what once may have been considered flirting and the continuation of the human race has now been criminalized. Activision would do themselves a favor by getting the hell out of California.

I don't know the details either, but I doubt this kind of action would be taken unless they were pretty bad.

That said, flirting at work is pretty scummy. If there is one place everyone should "keep it professional" it's at work.

You can flirt on your own time. Just consider everyone you go to work with as "fellow productivity robots" and you'll never have a problem.
 

Aurelius

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I don't know the details either, but I doubt this kind of action would be taken unless they were pretty bad.

That said, flirting at work is pretty scummy. If there is one place everyone should "keep it professional" it's at work.

You can flirt on your own time. Just consider everyone you go to work with as "fellow productivity robots" and you'll never have a problem.
Let's put it this way: it's so bad the studio president and multiple senior developers got the boot.

I'm also baffled when men whine that they can't flirt at work, like they have a neurological tick that makes them flirt involuntarily. You're not supposed to flirt at work because... it's work. You're a grown man — suck it up, hold your tongue and act like a professional. And these men forget that it's not the tone of the flirting that matters, it's the flirting itself. Women don't want to feel like they're being ogled while they work, or that one of their coworkers might only be doing favors in hopes of a date (or, let's be honest, sex). Let people do their jobs... it's not that hard.
 

Darunion

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Let's put it this way: it's so bad the studio president and multiple senior developers got the boot.

I'm also baffled when men whine that they can't flirt at work, like they have a neurological tick that makes them flirt involuntarily. You're not supposed to flirt at work because... it's work. You're a grown man — suck it up, hold your tongue and act like a professional. And these men forget that it's not the tone of the flirting that matters, it's the flirting itself. Women don't want to feel like they're being ogled while they work, or that one of their coworkers might only be doing favors in hopes of a date (or, let's be honest, sex). Let people do their jobs... it's not that hard.
And seriously, if these guys have time to get drunk and trade bathroom photos of the women that work there, probably should do a staff reduction because it seems there is too much free time.
 

Lakados

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I don't know the details either, but I doubt this kind of action would be taken unless they were pretty bad.

That said, flirting at work is pretty scummy. If there is one place everyone should "keep it professional" it's at work.

You can flirt on your own time. Just consider everyone you go to work with as "fellow productivity robots" and you'll never have a problem.
Flirting doesn't get you sued by just about every watchdog group in operation, the company "Cube Crawls" where male employees would get openly drunk midday to hit on women, then get aggressive when they tell you to leave them alone because they have deadlines is another, one of the incident reports had a drunk guy grab her wireless mouse and shove it down his pants and say "well you are going to touch my junk one way or another", to which when she complained to HR she was let go for "not fitting in with the culture". Numerous reports of employees setting up cameras in the women's bathroom then employees trading the pictures around and according to leaked chat logs a whole ranking method for determining rarety to the pictures themselves. The list of accusations in the report is LONG and actually pretty terrifying for a bunch of it, it sorta reads like a bad Revenge of the Nerds fan fick.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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Flirting doesn't get you sued by just about every watchdog group in operation, the company "Cube Crawls" where male employees would get openly drunk midday to hit on women, then get aggressive when they tell you to leave them alone because they have deadlines is another, one of the incident reports had a drunk guy grab her wireless mouse and shove it down his pants and say "well you are going to touch my junk one way or another", to which when she complained to HR she was let go for "not fitting in with the culture". Numerous reports of employees setting up cameras in the women's bathroom then employees trading the pictures around and according to leaked chat logs a whole ranking method for determining rarety to the pictures themselves. The list of accusations in the report is LONG and actually pretty terrifying for a bunch of it, it sorta reads like a bad Revenge of the Nerds fan fick.

Yeah, I never suggested Flirting was the extent of their troubles (only responding that flirting in the workplace is not the best of ideas)

That seems like pretty horrific violations of workplace harassment law.

I'm amazed they even wanted to keep the fools who got drunk at lunch and didn't fire them all.

It's almost tough to believe it got that bad.
 

Lakados

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Yeah, I never suggested Flirting was the extent of their troubles (only responding that flirting in the workplace is not the best of ideas)

That seems like pretty horrific violations of workplace harassment law.

I'm amazed they even wanted to keep the fools who got drunk at lunch and didn't fire them all.

It's almost tough to believe it got that bad.
Not drunk during lunch... the Cube Crawls were frequent and not just 3 or 4 guys it was entire departments.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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Flirting is fine, most men just don't know how. "Say it without saying it" applies here: Flirt without flirting. The key is to raise your masculinity to the point of no anxiety and then she's doing all the flirting. Many men don't want to put the work in but feel entitled to her anyway, and their sad lack of awareness of this power imbalance manifests itself in expressions of weakness like sexual harassment.

Put another way, the only difference between a lumberjack on a date and a chainsaw rapist is patience. Like for fucksake give a woman enough space not to just immediately hate you. And then be irresistible, and not just to her but to everyone.

I don't think anyone has suggested that flirting be off limits in all settings. Just maybe don't do it at work.

And totally agreed. The art of subtlety is unfortunately a lost one on many men.

In reality it's a long game of numbers. Be friendly, kind, smart, funny and interesting, (I know, a big ask for some people) and talk to many women. Don't try to make it about anything but a friendly chat, at least not until way down the line. Keep in mind that women and men are more alike than many guys seem to think. Just like men, women will innately find some guys attractive, and others not, and it is not a winning strategy to try to "convert" them. (I know, a lot of movies in our culture seem to push this, the "Say Anything" agenda, that a guy needs to be persistent and convert the girl that he wants, but that is just some unhelpful creepy stereotype that couldn't be further from the truth.)

Instead, play the numbers game, be ready to cut your losses quickly move on to those who are interested instead. If you are doing it right, you will wind up having the opposite problem. Sitting down at a bar and - in your mind - just having friendly small talk with your bar stool neighbors only to realize that you have to awkwardly turn them down because you hadn't intended it that way.


Whether this is a good idea to do at work is another topic. On the other hand many people married with kids or otherwise in relationships met at work. "Flirting" with subordinates under no circumstances, however - it's weak. Even if the subordinate appears to like you or they are doing the flirting, it's utterly weak and pathetic to engage.

I tend to be one of the ones who agrees with the non-fraternization policies many organizations have. Not only can flirting at work make for an uncomfortable work environment, at least for about half the workforce, but I have seen what can happen when things go wrong, nascent relationships fall apart, colleagues pick sides and it turns ugly.

It really shouldn't be so hard to keep work professional. Heck, I don't even make friends at work. Work is work. That's where I make my living. It is essential so that I can eat and pay the mortgage. I don't want to do ANYTHING AT ALL that might jeopardize that. I keep my opinions (on non-work topics) to myself, I don't socialize with anyone at work outside of work, and I sure as hell don't flirt with anyone there. Topics like religion, money, politics. All of that stays at home.

I make my friends and do my dating (or at least did when I was single) on my own time.

As Tony Soprano famously said: "I don't shit where I eat".

When done right, work is a sterile environment where you keep everyone at arms length. Be friendly. Make meaningless chit chat about your weekend or your kids or whatever (just don't bring up anything potentially controversial) and then leave it at that. Make an appearance at the company holiday party. Don't be the guy who got drunk at the company holiday party. Make friendly chit chat and retire from the party early. Focus on getting your work done instead of making friends. Treat work like a delicate game of geopolitical negotiation. Know what to say, and what to keep to yourself and never cross that line.

If your colleagues at work are your drinking buddies, you are doing it wrong.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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This is how Justice works in America. Has been that way for a long time.

18 million seems low though, that's barely a drop in the bucket for Actiblizzard.

Yeah, I was going to say the same. $18M does not seem like enough to disincentivize stuff like this going forward.

To change behaviors you have to REALLY make it sting.

But that's how we punish corporations in America. With pointless slaps on the wrist. And then we act all surprised when they don't change their ways.

Hey that company did something illegal and earned $1B from doing so? lets give them a $1M fine. THAT will teach them!
 

Lakados

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This is how Justice works in America. Has been that way for a long time.

18 million seems low though, that's barely a drop in the bucket for Actiblizzard.
18M is what they are setting aside for reparations to former employees, they haven't disclosed how much they settled the lawsuit for.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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18M is what they are setting aside for reparations to former employees, they haven't disclosed how much they settled the lawsuit for.

That makes more sense, but still, I don't have any faith that the penalties are going to be sufficient to change behavior.
 

Lakados

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That makes more sense, but still, I don't have any faith that the penalties are going to be sufficient to change behavior.
They won't but the investors are pissed, this hurt Blizzard sure but it hurt Activision more. Heads have been rolling since these legal processes started, they have had an almost 100% turnover on all senior and management positions at Blizzard in the last 2 years as a result of this. And realize this is the result of 1 of 4 lawsuits, they still have 3 more to go.
 
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At BlizzCon, one of the main harassers (Alex Afrasiabi) had a suite that men nicknamed the "Cosby suite" — you know, after the self-admitted rapist and harasser. There are group photos in that suite around a portrait of Cosby. Numerous men at Blizzard knew what was going on; they either supported it or deliberately ignored it.

You know what they say: "Boys will be boys".

Reading the responses to this suit around the internet and reading some of the complaints it's also pretty clear that a good number of boys will never, ever be men.
 

Lakados

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Is this really possible? How can all of these accusations be true? These types of accusations remind me of the Day-care sex-abuse hysteria in 80s.
Well true enough that rather than even try to defend itself Blizz is just coughing up cash and firing everybody involved, none of the bad actors mentioned or who took part in these events work there any longer so this is all for past bad practices. But there is enough evidence that while some minor parts may be overstated there is little denying it happened and a number of employees have put out tweets and such expressing their regret over having participated in said events and only now in their older and wiser years do they realize how damaging and demeaning their behaviors were.
 

rinaldo00

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Well true enough that rather than even try to defend itself Blizz is just coughing up cash and firing everybody involved, none of the bad actors mentioned or who took part in these events work there any longer so this is all for past bad practices. But there is enough evidence that while some minor parts may be overstated there is little denying it happened and a number of employees have put out tweets and such expressing their regret over having participated in said events and only now in their older and wiser years do they realize how damaging and demeaning their behaviors were.
Just giving up and not trying a defense does not mean much, it is the smart thing to do. I am not saying that nothing happened but some of the crazier allegations seem hard to believe.
 
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